One morning I felt energized and decided to just start walking up the hill. It was a beautiful day, sun shining and a bit of a breeze. I walked through the cute town of Penedo just above where I’m staying, then continued over the hills. The narrow tree lined road was quiet and I was enjoying the songs from the birds and the rustling of the leaves blowing in the breeze until…
a group of e-bikers passed by and one of the guys commented to the others…., “did you see the calves on her!”. At first I wanted to yell something rude back like, “if you get off your stupid e-bike and ride a real bike up these hills, you’d have nice calves too!”, but I kept my mouth shut, accepted it as a complement, and then put my camera against my backpack in the middle of the road to take a picture and see what they really looked like…. These hills got me pumped up!!! heeheehee!
After an hour or so, I came upon a sign next to a trail leading off to the left that said, “Capuchos”. Hmm, I did a quick search on the map and saw a nearby site called Convento dos Capuchos and figured this trail must lead there. It looked interesting, so off I went into the woods.
At first the trail seemed well marked, but as many of the trails I have followed, it quickly lost its markings and split off in multiple directions. First, I chose the path with stone steps, as this seemed like a likely suspect for a trail leading to a convent. It was all good until after climbing through several boulders it just ended in thick overgrowth with many spikey plants that I did not want to fight. I turned back, and at the junction, tried another trail that seemed to be going in the right direction. Again, the trail became unrecognizable, but I turned on the satellite view and saw where the convent was and a road ahead, so I decided to make it work. Finally, I came down a big hill and across somewhat of a little bridge made of logs and connected with the road downhill from my goal. It turned out to be a logging road, and although it passed by a gate to the convent, I could not enter. I ended up hiking all the way back up to the main road, and then down the actual entrance road where I could finally go inside. Just before I got to the entrance, I came across one of the many roadside fountains. So happy to cool off and wash the dripping sweat off may face, and dirt off my legs, I took a little bird bath before proceeding to buy my ticket!
It was a quiet site with only a 3 or 4 other tourists roaming around, so I was able to take it in at my pace and even take a small hike through the convent woods above the main building. I really felt like I was roaming through a life size fairy garden. Check out this amazing stone door!! It is a such treat to walk back into history. The convent was originally founded in 1560, with a very minimalist design to blend in to it’s natural surroundings. The windows, doorways, and some of the other structures are covered in cork which is a traditional material of Portugal. The whole place fits so neatly into the rock cliffs.
A couple of days later, I was feeling energetic again, and this time set my sights higher. I had been by this amazing castle a couple of times on the bus, and knew it was up the same road, but a bit further than Convento dos Capuchos. I put it into the map, learning it was a 2 hour walk, so I laced up my shoes, took a deep breath, and off I went. Although it was pretty hot, once again, the walk was beautiful! Passing by Monseratte Palace (which we will visit soon!), the road to the convent, and many other beautiful gates and buildings, I finally arrived at Quinta da Regaleria. Here was my first view….what a beautiful view of romantic architecture built in the late 1800’s!
The original owner was a wealthy Brazilian Mine owner who let his imagination run wild in the design of his special villa. Aside from the eccentric neo-gothic castle and chapel, it also hosts beautiful gardens, an underground labyrinth built into the rocks, and a deep initiation well, inspired by cultish religious ceremonies. The initiation well has stairs spiraling down to the bottom where you walk through passageways passing by an unfinished well, before popping back out into the daylight. Definitely one of my favorite places yet!
So, leaving you in awe, I will sign off for now, but will be back soon with more castles, palaces and other cool stuff!
Cheers, hugs & love from Portugal,
4 Replies to “A Month in Almoçageme, Portugal Part 3 – Convento dos Capuchos and Quinta da Regaleria”
Amazing photos of the castle and Compucho!
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Thanks Lucinda! Hope all is well back in Colorado! I’ll be in touch soon!
Your wonderful walks seem like a very intimate way to really get to know the countryside. How exciting! You look great- calm and rested. Your pictures are fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing! Take care my dear friend. So glad you are enjoying your adventure!
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Hi Diane! So good to hear from you! Yes, I’m calm and mentally rested! Thanks so much for staying in touch and following! I’m glad you are enjoying the pics! I really love finding them! I hope we can connect this summer! Hugs!